a cardboard mailer with a plant in a cafe bustelo container

All images © Fidencio Fifield-Perez, shared with permission

Fidencio Fifield-Perez’s Dacaments series began as a response to the bureaucracy of the U.S. immigration system. The Oaxaca-born artist immigrated with his family as a child, making him eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). To qualify and retain his status, he needed to collect official documents, the envelopes from which became the substrate for his paintings.

When the Trump administration terminated the policy in 2017, people like Fifield-Perez were thrown into limbo before the Supreme Court reinstated it in 2020. His hyperrealistic renderings of potted plants reflect this precarious position as symbols of domesticity and thriving life rest atop discarded mailers that have fulfilled their purposes. “Painted envelopes are configured into intimate portraits of the only home I have made for myself, moved across the country, and mourned for with the imminent threat of DACA’s repeal,” the artist says, adding:

The plant paintings are physical and metaphorical maps of personal and official correspondence. The rubber plant abandoned outside The University of Iowa’s art studios painted on the mailer envelope of my graduate degree; the split-leaf monstera gifted to my husband and me for our wedding ceremony; the jade plant given to me by the only other dacamented professor I’ve met.

Ongoing since 2016, Dacaments will conclude this year when Fifield-Perez’s DACA status ends.

As part of a McKnight Fellowship, the artist is working toward a show at Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, where he lives. Find more of his paintings and collages on his website and Instagram.


a yellow manila mailer with a plant in a gold and white pot

a white cardboard mailer with a leafy plant in a small black pot

a white cardboard mailer with a monstera in a white pot

a white cardboard mailer with a plant in a terracotta pot

a white envelope with a plant in a white pot

a USPS mailer with a plant in a terracotta pot

a collection of small paintings of plants in pots on used envelopes. all are on a white gallery wall

Photo by Argenis Apolinario, courtesy pf PS122 Gallery, N.Y.

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